Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) today announced the Award Winners for this year’s 71st edition, as well as confirming the Best of the Fest films. 151 features from 46 countries screened at this year’s Festival, with the jurors viewing an extensive and varied selection of shorts, documentaries and features since the start of the Festival.
Commenting on the incredibly high standard of entries at this year’s Festival and the quality of the submissions they were judging, the juries stressed that they had some tough decisions to make in choosing one winner in each category, and gave special mentions to several films.
THE MICHAEL POWELL AWARD FOR BEST BRITISH FEATURE FILM
The winner of the prestigious Michael Powell Award for Best British Feature Film went to British filmmaker Francis Lee’s directorial debut, God’s Own Country, which received its UK Premiere at the Festival. The Michael Powell Award honours imagination and creativity in British filmmaking. The film was supported by the BFI and Creative England using funds from the National Lottery.
The winner was chosen by the Michael Powell Jury comprised of award-winning composer David Arnold, International Film Festival Rotterdam Artistic Director, Bero Beyer, and BAFTA-nominated film and television writer Andrea Gibb.
The Michael Powell Jury said:
“We present the Michael Powell Award to God’s Own Country, directed by Francis Lee, a film with a singularity of storytelling and consistency of vision. Assured direction with raw and endearing performances result in a film that has an authenticity that is both tender and brutal, a juxtaposition of landscape and emotion, which explores the question of what it means to be a man.”
Francis Lee said:
“I am thrilled with this honour for God's Own Country, especially when you consider the British films that have won before. After premiering at Sundance and Berlin it has been wonderful to see how the film has created a real resonance with people and that is why the Michael Powell Award feels so brilliant.”
THE AWARD FOR BEST PERFORMANCE IN A BRITISH FEATURE FILM
The award for Best Performance in a British Feature Film went jointly to actresses Emily Beecham for her role in Daphne and Anne Reid for her roles in Kaleidoscope and Romans, and was also selected by the Michael Powell jurors.
The Michael Powell Jury said:
“In the category of Best Performance in a British Feature Film, the Michael Powell Jury recognises two actors, Emily Beecham and Anne Reid, portraying fascinating, complex and flawed characters who didn't strive for your affection but commanded your attention - real in the best sense of the word.”
Emily Beecham said:
“I'm so honoured and thrilled, and would really like to thank the jury and the Edinburgh International Film Festival for supporting our film. It was an extraordinary experience working on the unique and special Daphne. I wouldn't have won this award without my wonderful team: Director Peter Mackie Burns, writer Nico Mensinga and producers Tristan Goligher and Valentina Brazzini! Thanks again EIFF, having once been a festival Trailblazer you have a very special place in my heart!”
Robbie Allan, Senior Screen Executive at Creative Scotland said:
“We are delighted that Emily’s outstanding performance as Daphne has been recognised by the jury. Together with Nico Mensinga’s extraordinary script and Peter Mackie Burns' skilful direction, this collaboration has resulted in a striking debut feature. Creative Scotland is proud to have supported this talented team and we’re sure that audiences will be also be delighted by Daphne.”
Anne Reid said:
“How exciting to have won this prestigious award. And totally unexpected! Thank you to the jury who voted for me. And a million thanks to Rupert Jones who wrote and directed Kaleidoscope. He gave me such good advice. He's one of the best directors I've ever worked with. And it was the first time I've worked with Toby Jones. That was a joy. Romans I haven't seen yet - I can't wait!”
THE AWARD FOR BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM
The award for Best International Feature Film went to Kristina Grozeva and Petar Valchanov’s Glory, which received its UK Premiere at this year’s Festival. The winner was chosen by the International Jury comprised of film, stage and television actor Bernard Hill, actress and writer Shauna Macdonald, and Dallas Film Festival Artistic Director James Faust.
The International Jury said:
“Deftly acted, beautifully photographed and directed, we loved this film. The subtlety of the performances and the story-telling was defined with such a lightness of touch which led to the immoral and moral choices having a heavy impact on this Jury.”
Petar Valchanov said:
“It is a great honour for us to receive this award from Edinburgh International Film Festival, which has been preserving the traditions of good cinema the longest and carrying them over the generations. This award is a recognition not only for us, but also for Bulgarian cinema, which is currently on the rise again. Thank you for being there!"
THE AWARD FOR BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE FILM
The award for Best Documentary Feature Film went to Chico Pereira’s contemplative Donkeyote, which studied Pereira’s uncle whose wonderful spirit of adventure belies all of his 73 years. Special mention was given to Thomas Riedelsheimer’s Leaning Into The Wind.
This year’s jury comprised British actor Ralph Ineson, award-winning documentary filmmaker Simon El Habre, and British Council Film Programme Manager, Wendy Mitchell.
The Documentary Jury said:
“For our main prize, we would like to honour a film that expertly blends the tools of documentary and fiction. Chico Pereira has a special relationship with his subjects, human and animal, and shows a warmth and respect for his characters. This truly cinematic film draws us in by slowly revealing its characters and emotions in a moving portrait.”
Chico Pereira said:
“On behalf of the entire Donkeyote team I'd like to say thank you so much for this recognition. For some of us who live or lived in Edinburgh, it holds an extra special meaning: our formative cinema experiences have been with EIFF, and just to return for our UK premiere is an honour in itself. I dedicate this also to my family, and in particular Manolo and Gorrión who teach us how to be truly modern and to enjoy life.”
Leslie Finlay, Screen Officer, Creative Scotland, commented:
“Huge congratulations to Director, Chico Pereira, Producer, Sonja Henrici and the rest of the team behind Donkeyote. This EIFF award is a significant recognition of their talent and hard work and is testament to the quality of documentary filmmaking coming out of Scotland. We’re very proud to have supported this wonderful production.”
THE AWARD FOR BEST SHORT FILM
The award for Best Short Film went to The Full Story, directed by Daisy Jacobs, with Kevin Pickering’s Close to the Bone and Gordon Napier’s 1745receiving a special mention from the jurors. The jury was comprised of Screen International Star of Tomorrow Charity Wakefield, journalist and author Marina Richter, and journalist Matthew Turner.
The Short Film Jury said:
“For its originality, level of technical artistry and emotional poignancy, we are awarding the prize for best short film to The Full Story by Daisy Jacobs, and co-director, Christopher Wilder. What struck us in particular was the perfect marriage between form and content, in particular the way in which the fluidity between the live action and animation perfectly represented the transitions between memory and the past.”
Daisy Jacob’s said:
“It is an honour to receive the Best Short Film Award from such a prestigious Festival, we are delighted.”
THE MCLAREN AWARD FOR BEST BRITISH ANIMATION
Voted for by the Festival audience, the McLaren Award for Best British Animation, supported by the British Council, this year goes to Paloma Baeza’s Poles Apart.
THE EIFF WORKS IN PROGRESS WINNER
The winner of this year’s EIFF Works in Progress and recipient of the £2,500 award is Piano to Zanskar by Michal Sulima.
Michal Sulima said:
“We are delighted to have been selected for the EIFF Works in Progress award this year. It was a real privilege to be part of the showcase and to pitch our documentary to an audience full of industry professionals, which resulted in a number of meetings and expressions of interest. It's only fair to say that we were heartily impressed by the quality of all the films presented, so the award comes to us as a great surprise! Given that our film has been entirely self-funded, it will go a long way towards helping us reach completion. We're very grateful to the wonderful team at the EIFF for giving us this opportunity.”
The aforementioned Award winners were announced today ahead of Sunday’s Closing Night Gala, which concludes the 12-day Festival with the World Premiere of Mark Gill’s highly anticipated England Is Mine.
The winner of the Festival’s Audience Award will be announced at the Closing Night Gala.